Sunday, April 22, 2007

Off to work

I mentioned in the post before last that I had put myself down for the role of pool cleaner, a position which I duly received. And so on Sunday morning (this is two weeks ago, I know I am rather behind) I went down to the pool at six in the morning, where, I had been told, I would learn to clean the pool. I spent the following hour and a half sitting outside the pool and debating whether to treat myself to breakfast or not. Eventually as I am finally about to decide to go have breakfast someone comes to let me into the pool, and acts very surprised that a) I came at six and b) I haven't eaten. My boss's name was Susie and she proceeded to show me how to clean the pool. This process was by use of a big under water vacuum cleaner, powered by some sort of domed object, which doesn't entirely look unlike a Dalek.

The Ketora swimming pool is rather large, and so the whole cleaning process takes 2-3 hours, it should probably take less but I was slightly retarded at it. There had been a sandstorm the previous night which in no way made my life any easier, especially as I had to go over the same bit a number of times to clean it completely. My other responsibilities around the pool included general tidying up around the pool, clearig the drains and sweeping the paths. I also had to clean the toilets, admittedly not very thoroughly as all I did was put soap and water in a bucket and throw it over as much as possible, and then clear all the water out.

The next day I was to work alone and so Susie gave me a pool to the swimming pool, essentially making me my own boss. Being ones own boss means having to switch on the Dalek, which means a long and ardouos process where getting rather wet is unavoidable, I started wearing swimming trunks pretty quickly. As the week progressed a number of things became apparent to me 1) That I wasnt very good at my job 2)Its just too damn not to work outside 3) My mp3 player is no substitute for human contact, and so I decided to find someone who wanted to switch with me.

Luckily fate was on my side as Aliza (volunteer supervisor) approached Nick and I on the Wednesday and told us that for the next week we would be cleaning pipes in the Algetech. The Algetech is where the kibbutz Algae grows. I should state that not all kibbutzim grow Algae its just this one as its main industry is exporting Algae which is used in several products including salmon (to give it its colour). We arrived there bright and early on Thursday where our new boss Benny gave us a bucket, hose, detergent and green scrubbing things which for some reason our called scotch's and told us to clean all the refuse pipes in the complex. The refuse pipes are found under all the pipes where the algae grows, and the pipes irrigate into the pipes we were cleaning. This meant getting out all the mud and sand and anything that might decide to visit with just the tools we were given.

And so Nick and I spent the following week with our hands in these pipes scrubbing them and cleaning them and getting ourselves rather wet. Actually Nick usually had the hose and I usually my hand in the pipes, which meant back pains (the pipes tended to be around knee height) and very dry hands. Some days it was rather fun, for instance we timed ourselves on a very short series of pipes with our record being about 3:20 a pipe. Other days it was not quite so fun particularly as we were next to the 'refek (cows) and one day a rather strong was blowing in our direction bringing with it the unforgettable stench of those wretched creatures. Finally on the Tuesday we go find our boss to report that we had finished all the pipes, he congragulates us and then says 'You know there was a sandstorm last night, all the pipes are now dirty, so they all need to be cleaned again.' Hoping for some variation we were livid. Thus over the next couple of days Nick and I decided to limit ourselves to the short and easy pipes and refused to do the huge ones again. Unfortuneatly we did the easy pipes far too quickly and so resorted to many long breaks, luckily being surrounded by pipes no-one could really see what we were /were not doing. Nevertheless on our final day when we went to say goodbye to our boss, he thanked us for doing a great job, and said he would tell Aliza how good we were.

On Friday it was back to the pool for my final day of work, as during the week I had found someone to swap with, which means I shall probably spend the rest of my time on kibbutz working in the dining room, and I will tell you all about that when I know more.


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